International Women’s Day 2013

Yes. I know it is International Women’s Day.

So what has changed since last year? Huh?

If you want to read what I wrote last year about it, go ahead.

Otherwise I am busy bleating over on Clouds about Crufts, which is pretty much on the same theme really. Gotta look nice?

Well groomed, and walk tall, and the goodlookers make money. Just breed, and bring in my money.

And if you don’t look right, you are out on your arse. Or on the streets. In fact, if you do look right you are on the streets.

Life’s a bitch.

For women. And dogs.

You can look up the token gestures towards IWD yourself. Free cinema tickets in China for IWD – please the women and let them go to the cinema?

[Telegraph]

And the best one from the Independent:

Various events over the last year have shown beyond doubt that there are gender inequality issues the world over that desperately need to be dealt with.

Holy fucking shit. I rest my case.

That is such an acute perceptive comment. Really. There are a few gender inequality issues in the world? Like women being raped, killed, sold into sex slavery, being discriminated against at work assuming they can even get a job?

Class journalism there. Gender inequality issues. FFS – how about saying what the score is?

International Women’s Day 2013 has given people the chance to speak out against these issues, and to have their voices heard on a global scale. Questions this year have been raised about how single women are treated in the UK and India, what the biggest issues facing women today are, and how women are treated in our national press. The day has also given people the opportunity to share where progress is being made, as in the case of women in the Arab World’s changing ability to speak out about their problems.

Seriously. What a load of trite shite. And just utter bollocks.

I despair. I’m off to read about that extremely nasty Jack Higgins character called Sean Dillon who shoots the shit out of everyone.

Because fiction is more realistic than International Women’s Day.

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41 comments on “International Women’s Day 2013

    • Yes, I am afraid a thinking post was beyond me this year. I could just have reposted everything I wrote last year because it would be no different. Probably worse if I had chosen to do the research.

      The major changes I can think of over the last 30 years or so on a personal level are that a) people no longer moan about my partner and I having a joint bank account in different names b) people accept me wishing to be called chair of a meeting and not chairman or Madam Chairman, and c) I even get some correspondence addressed to Ms Roughseas instead of people making assumptions about my marital status. That is absolutely peanuts in the scheme of things, and it has taken more than half my lifetime to see those changes – sometimes.

      If it takes me so long to get seemingly trivial (although they aren’t to me because I think they reflect wider issues) changes accepted, when I have a couple of degrees, am solvent and own my own house, how the hell is some poverty stricken woman living from hand to mouth ever going to achieve equality? or even a life?

      I think we will be playing for the rest of our lifetime. We will probably run out of stakes to raise. However, I raise you incredulousness.

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      • Rather depressing, isn’t it? At least maybe on days like yesterday, more than the average were encouraged to think about/debate/take a stand on some of the more pressing issues. ?

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        • To be honest, I doubt it very much. Those who think anyway don’t need a special day for it. Those who don’t, will dismiss it as political correctness and consider that women are already ahead of men. I joke not. Some years ago on a forum, I read about a British working class man who was complaining that men were now the inferior ones who were discriminated against. This was largely based on the fact that he was out of work, rather than an in-depth analytical study of figures and data from either a) his own country or b) around the world.

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      • You sound so terribly sad. Thank God, we are not all alike. There are many poor women who are happy, and don’t want to be “equal.” That’s such a broad word. I’ve been rich and poor, and I’m happy not to have so much, as I think what I have is just enough. I’ve been married three times, and miss the good parts, but life is easier alone. I’m sorry your generation is so mixed up. And, people’s ideas of “success,” is really varied. Unfortunately, TV and the media, especially Hollywood has made American women into ridiculous beings who want to be men and can’t stand it, yet do not get a sex change. No wonder our men go elsewhere.

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        • Thanks for your comment JoAnne.

          I’m not sure whether you are referring to Melody or me, but yes, I am certainly sad on behalf of the many women in the world who have an extremely difficult life.

          If you have backread my blog(s), you will have noticed that there is a common theme of lack of consumerism and glossy consumption with which many of my readers agree. That hardly equates to being poor and struggling to survive in a developing country.

          If you clicked on the link to last year’s IWD, I focused on women who were illiterate, poor, suffered domestic violence at home, and rape as a result of civil wars. I also mentioned that women are not achieving anywhere near the same levels as men in powerful positions in western societies. Whichever way you look, there is no equality.

          I can’t comment about being married so many times, as I am still on my first marriage after 28 years, so I’ll take your word for life being easier alone.

          Nor can I comment on my generation being mixed up. Most of the people I write to and read about on the internet are not a dissimilar age. We’re in our fifties and were born in the fifties. Where does that put you?

          I’m really not sure what television, the media, Hollywood and American women have to do with International Women’s Day? Perhaps you can tell me. I’d also like to know about women who want to be men and can’t get a sex change. That sounds like a gender issue to me rather than equality. The two are not the same.

          Bad luck about your men. Sorry to hear that.

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  1. Yes…today I passed a female choir being led by a man with a guitar singing about domestic violence… all very trendy – but where’s the action?

    There’s a gringo here, up the road, who enjoys paying teenagers to enact lesbian scenes…but they risk a beating.
    In the past, this was let pass…Americans were the masters.
    Now, people talk.
    At some point, the public prosecutor will be pushed into action.

    As usual, the state is well behind public opinion.

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    • Indeed, and who would bother even noticing the choir if a man wasn’t doing the important part? I liked that, it is perfect symbolism of society. A mixed choir, led by a woman would have been a better aspirational symbol.

      When I was very young and very capitalist, I subscribed to the notion that any form of prostitution/sex work was empowering for woman if that was how they chose to earn a living. With age comes maybe not wisdom, but at least a little knowledge, which is why when I read sheer drivel about ONE DAY out of 365/6 being devoted to raising the issue of women’s problems, I lose patience. Well, I did this year anyway!

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  2. I agree IWD has become too fashionable, trendy, in, politically correct. I attended an office IWD function on Friday that was poor in numbers but we who where there were waiting for something real, in vain. Your words “Well groomed, and walk tall, and the goodlookers make money. Just breed, and bring in my money” resonated. Last year, one of the female speakers encouraged everyone to enlist child care assistance to keep their careers on track, simultaneous domestic harmony and personal upkeep, and lamented the laws restricting the import O.S. of workers to accomplish this cheaply… I’m serious. It was the elephant in the room at this year’s event. This year’s host highlighted other high profile IWD events most of which no-one in the room was eligible to attend. The guest speaker was the very newly appointed CEO of a women’s hospital. It was oh so nice and boring and uninspiring and not real at all. Thank God I can rant here because far too many people want IWD to be something it’s not and to accomplish something in a day that has taken lifetimes, and lives and will take more. We already have Valentines Day, Christmas Day, Mothers Day… we’re not lacking in days with hype. Soon there’ll be IWD Hallmark cards…

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    • Your last comment made me snort, sadly because I thought it sounded all too true. In fact, I was going to leave it alone this year, as I was busy contrasting the posh dogs at Crufts in the UK, with a protest march against dogs being bred for vivisection a few hundred miles away. And then the analogy between Crufts and the dogs and women in society struck me, so I wrote something after all. Not measured, not researched, but honest and from one woman, who hasn’t been treated too badly in life. I think the trouble with IWD is that to the western world, it has to be about showcasing women who have ‘achieved something’ – your new CEO is a classic example. Or maybe the token black or brown woman who has got on in life, jumping the double hurdles of being not white and a woman. Hey! Look! Equality has arrived.

      How about getting speakers from a women’s refuge, a rape counselling centre, a prostitute – not from the defunct Touch of Class, but from the streets, or a single unemployed woman living on benefits struggling to feed her kids, can’t get child care so can’t work at all, let alone keep a career on track? A little reality is needed not superficial gloss.

      We live in a patriarchal society. It’s not exactly difficult to understand.

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      • Joan Shea, Advanced education, Susan Sullivan: Health and Charlene Johnson, Child, Youth and Family Services. The Premier too–Kathy Dunderdale.
        Health as well as Education here are blood sports so those guys have pretty tough jobs.
        I truly believe we are better than most. That said, when you care to look, you still see the old BOYS network here and there…they’re mostly old, though so there really is hope. The thing is, where I come from, cooperation has always been essential. Life can be harsh here if people don’t work together so survival has traditionally depended on maximizing everyones’ strengths.

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        • But aren’t those always the areas where women make headway initially because although at a political level they may be seen as blood sports, the actual professions are all seen as ones that women can at least understand. Or as Phil says below, the nurturing professions.

          It tends to be harder for women to get somewhere in the ‘harder’ areas of finance, resources and planniing, development control, performance management etc, basically the ones that are seen as analytical disciplines (and therefore suitable for men) rather than softer touchy feely areas such as health, education, social services, family. I know I’m generalising, but to look at my own previous employment, I can’t remember meeting any women directors of finance, and some boards had no women executive directors at all, others had maybe one. There were some where the women outnumbered the men, but they were the exception.

          Our conditioning is such that a board of men only is not remarked upon. A board of women only is still novelty value and everyone expects them to be useless.

          Here in Gib, out of ten government ministers we have ONE woman. Naturally her remit is social services.

          Incidentally you win the prize for being the only man brave enough to comment on this post.

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          • I also have to concede that you are right as it applies to here as well. Reflecting back on females who have occupied cabinet posts most have been in the ‘nurturing’ fields. So…we DO have a long way to go :>(

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          • Heh!! I’m just back on-line and having a ready back. I suggested a previous commenter read the back link I posted. Women are just so outnumbered in serious positions, simple as that. And we have to work hard to get anywhere. Try being old and female and educated. Seriously bad.

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      • Teaching is so nurturing – just perfect for women! They will do it because they love children (despite the pay and poor conditions and being poorly treated by males over them…) They will put up with anything. They are there for the children.
        There was a reason that for a long time teachers here were single women: they had to have a job – and they didn’t have any distracting families to make demands on their time. Just give teachers a pat on the head once in a while and they are happy campers!
        Worse are the women who climb the career ladder and then are so horrid to the women under them – nothing worse than a woman former elementary principal as a boss – they treat everyone like 1st graders.

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        • You picked up on the point I was going to make about stereotypical female professions, eg those nice caring ones, and within education, the subjects associated with women were usually the softer ones. A bit like at university, the broad line used to be more women did arts, more men did sciences. My degree was an anomaly (history and archaeology) as we were 50:50.

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          • Traditional careers for women: nurse, secretary, or teacher. That concept limited women for so long. (all nuturing careers so they are appropriate) You are right about the “soft” majors women were/are steered, too.
            And also very true, but odd, is the fact that women who did make it in male dominated careers (like medicine) often treat younger women coming up more harshly than males because they themselves had such a difficult time breaking through – some how they feel the need to share the misery and make younger women suffer as much as they did.
            Which “enemy” is worse?

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          • I disagree about medicine for example, I have met some good medics who have tried to help other women, of whatever grade/rank/profession. But what you are describing is the Queen Bee syndrome. Woman in charge doesn’t want any other woman to compete, basically because it is so hellish difficult to get there.

            I have met a few. The token women who want to be part of the boys’ club. Difficult. I don’t say I was an easy boss either. Career women still have it hard either way.

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          • Medicine now has quite a few women in the top medical schools and in the work force – that has been a real battle – not that the women can’t do the job – many older docs in the US don’t feel med schools should be “wasting their time” with women med students since those will “get married , have kids, and not work – so they are taking up room” Not so much true anymore as everyone has to work to live. And the old guys are retiring. But can you believe my daughter a surgeon actually had a middle aged patient say “You’r a doctor? I didn’t know they allowed women to be surgeons.” My husband’s mother appalled the family when she stopped being a piano teacher and left for medical school – she was the first woman internal doctor in Houston. Old ideas die hard and slowly. RIght now women just have to gut it up and work hard in male dominated fields

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          • I can believe it sadly. We went to church once and there was a woman deacon giving the sermon, and my father talked all the way through because he didn’t think women should be giving sermons. Not that he was religious anyway. Just, gotta keep those women in their place.

            I’d crack up about the idea of a woman not allowed to be a surgeon. Except it’s not funny. On what grounds? Wrong body? After all, surgery is nothing to do with brain power or manual dexterity is it?

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  3. It’s not that I don’t care for International Women’s Day but yes, it is how successfully or not a society expresses equality. The reality is that after feminism is well some people who may happen to be female or male, are just self-serving and retain their own little cliques.

    I came across the internet meet-up groups that allow people of like interests to get together from internet to real face to face get togethers and activities. There was one for women over 45. I looked at it and wondered how I would even fit in ….anymore with a group of women with very diverse interests. And the only thing that joins us is our gender. I don’t think anymore that all women think similar nor have always the same issues on inequity. As for women who agree it’s great if a woman wants to be a prostitute….seriously? How narrow in thinking.

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    • The problem is that it is a different sort of day to all the others. There are memorial/remembrance days which are really a tribute day, although they should be a why can’t we learn from this day, and there are health days (eg mental health, epilepsy, diabetes) which are awareness-raising days. But what is the purpose of International Women’s Day? It’s changed so much from it’s origins and has now become an amorphous blur. Is it to pat a few token women on the back and say well done for getting a top job? Or is it to do something about rape, murder, violence (domestic and otherwise), sex slavery, lack of education, continued discrimination and gender stereotyping – the list is endless and affects half the world.

      Having a group for women over 45 is a bit like having a group for all people with blond hair, or all women over 5’5″. I have been to an internet group meet, but it was for local geocachers, and I enjoyed it. Not that we talked geocaching that much :D But normally if you like geocaching, you like walking, getting outside, travelling (one couple we were talking to were German), quite a few ex-pat Brits, so there was a good mix with a vague common interest.

      There is a women’s group here in Gib. Or a Ladies Coffee Morning or something. That is so not me! But, in my teens all the girls would run off to the toilets to chat. I never joined in that. couldn’t see the point, apart from blatant back-stabbing.

      As for the prostitution issue, it causes quite of lot of dissension within feminist forums. There are those who think it is empowering blah blah blah, and those who think it is not, usually the radical ones. On the forum I used to visit, (it was invitation only) any suggestion that prostitution was ‘A Good Thing For Women’ would have been met with some extremely sharp and well-informed points of view about why it was ‘A Very Bad Thing Indeed.’

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  4. Despair is the word. I just couldn’t write one this year.
    A year when an elected official(male) tells women to stand by a blue light and wait for help if she feels threatened (and “it’s probably her imagination anyway”…are you saying feeble minded? Seriously? You actually said it’s probably a woman’s “imagination” and she can be trusted to evaluate the level of danger?)
    A year when a university suggests women not try to fight rape but try to urinate, sound pitiful, and lay still?
    Another elected legislator, a woman who always supports a woman’s right to choose tells a rape victim “sorry I, who have never been in your position, will determine how you should defend yourself? And you, the victim, are wrong.” Really?
    A year when Human trafficking is an obviously a reality in this area.
    A year when male White House staff is paid more than women White House staff?
    A year when grown men and teen boys repeatedly rape a 13 yr old girl over a period of several weeks, record it on cell phones and post the events and once caught a spokesman has the nerve to say “Where were her parents? Why weren’t they watching her?”
    And exciting new trendy exercise classes: exercising in high heels! (and pole dancing for very young girls)
    Is this backwards world?
    Your last line says it all.

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    • The sentiment that comes over in your comment mirrors mine. I mean feeling and thoughts rather than soppy sentiment. I wasn’t going to either for similar reasons, until the analogy of the beautifully preened dogs, viewed and judged on their appearance at Crufts struck me as being such an appropriate comparison with women’s role in society.

      The rape ones are class aren’t they? While ever it is a woman’s fault for a) even leaving her house b) walking around a quiet neighbourhood c) going out at night d) choosing to wear short skirts or tight clothes or whatever e) well, just being a woman really – and she, just happens to get raped, but it wasn’t his fault, then our society really doesn’t know its arse from its elbow.

      It particularly gripes me because I was in a situation – through no fault of my own, although clearly it would have been had I been raped – where I ended up having to walk home at 3am in a very bad party of the city. But if I had been attacked/raped/murdered – first question. What was she doing walking through there at that time of night on her own? And who believes a woman anyway. Just another bird brain.

      Why does no-one ever, ever say that men should stay at home huh?
      But no, potential victims stay home and be safe, villains are free to roam the streets.

      I thought your examples were extremely good. It gave me an idea. If we don’t feel like writing on our own blogs next year, how about a group of people doing guest blog posts? Different countries, different style of writing, different issues (although the same underlying problem) in different places. Anyway, nearly 12 months to think about it.

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          • IWD (sounds like IUD huh?) is not, and should not be anything to do with Hollywood, media and making your man happy FFS (qv the comment above). It has to be about, solving some very serious problems and making societal change. But hey, that’s too difficult to think about.

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          • Lots of empty headedness out there…besides it’s not fun to think? Exercising in high heels and getting ready for swim suits is so much more fun.
            I sometimes feel like strangling an older cousin who is a talented pianist and is upset one of her friend’s daughter is going to college and planning to major in International Business instead of music/piano. I said maybe she’s a smart girl and sees the need to be able to support herself…I might as well said Jesus was a fake.
            Part of the problem in the US is the major players in the “women’s groups” are now more interested in being invited to the political table (and be invited party with important political players) and perfectly willing to be told which areas to protest or publicly show concern about.
            Many times the public is looking at things and saying “where are the women’s groups? Why aren’t they saying something?”

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          • Get the business qual first say I, and then do the music one, if they want.

            They may be major players, but do they know what they are even talking about? Apart from their own self-interest?

            The only womens groups saying anything are extreme minorities (by which I mean numbers not extreme point of view although that depends on opinion) and without any clout at all because they are not mainstream.

            For example, I know some extremely intelligent articulate radical feminists. Put that tag on them and everyone runs off screaming shouting eek! hairy legged lesbians.

            Eso va la vida.

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          • It is a tough call. Younger women want nothing to do with the established women’s movement.
            Getting out there and doing the job and standing up for themselves certainly is the right direction.
            My much older cousin bemoans the fact that so many children do not take piano lessons any more ( although it is good for brain development) Can’t make a living as a piano teacher (her husband is comes from old money). Her student will probably always play, but she’s wise to set herself up to take care of herself.
            It’s 90 here today ARRRGGHHH too hot already. Hope you are enjoying the spring

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  5. Didn’t hear about IWD until two days after it happened. Here in KSA women don’t drive. There are segregated spaces in restaurants and other places, divided between “Singles” and “Family,” because single women don’t leave the house without their family. Most women don’t show their faces in public (literally–the veil), and some don’t even show their eyes. Some are fighting for their rights, but the struggle isn’t visible in a conservative area like this.

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    • I think the strict Islamic issue is another one again. I don’t know enough about it although I have worked with plenty of Muslim women in the UK. Hardly the middle east though.

      I have a struggle between not wanting to put my values on someone else and seeing people abused. Never an answer to that one.

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  6. As always another entertaining post from you that made me laugh out loud (with a sting of bitterness at the end of it considering the very serious topic). Some issues here and there, no biggie at all – like some of our neighbors in the region who don’t allow women to drive. They want to be the center and cradle of entrepreneurship in the region (and perhaps the world), but hey, letting a women behind the steering wheel, christ you must be out of your minds!!

    WordPress has as you know been giving me a hard time lately, but so has work, but hope to stay in the loop going forward. Reading another interesting book by the way; Conscious Capitalism by John Mackay, one of the founders of Whole Foods, and this other bloke I can never seem to remember the name of, and after the first chapter it is quite interesting. Read it?

    Hope all is well otherwise, will catch up on your other writings as well.

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    • Interesting you mention the non-driving aspect too. :( as did angryricky.

      Different worlds, different perceptions. I don’t think the Middle East would be my kettle of fish somehow.

      No, not read it. I started reading about food/farming/environmentalism/veg/veganism so many years ago, that I’m sure there is anything new to read :D

      OK, here, and trying to do a quick catch up after an internet break. After all, i did spend most of my life without it, so it shouldn’t be too difficult to have a week off ;)

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